25 years ago today, Sharon Stone was vaulted to sex symbol status with the theatrical release of Paul Verhoeven's classic erotic thriller Basic Instinct.
Playing the sultry and sophisticated manhunter Catherine Tramell, Stone terrorized the men of California's Bay Area with her unnervingly short skirts, utter lack of underwear and straight-up homicidal impulses.
Stone's character scandalized audiences back in 1992, who were not so accustomed to a character that inspired both fear and lust in viewers. While Hitchcock famously had a fondness for enigmatic blondes, and Michelle Pfeiffer gave us her best ice-cold bad girl in 1983's Scarface, never before had the trope of the lethal seductress been so boldly and provocatively realized.
Now, our TV and movie screens are downright littered with brilliant and beautiful women who use sex to gain an edge, a trend spurred by the success of Basic Instinct no doubt. Some are cunningly sexual, some play ruthless head games, some are aliens and others are just batshit fucking insane ("I'm not gonna be ignored, Dan!")
In honor of the 25th anniversary of Basic Instinct's release on March 20, 1992, check out this completely unscientific ranking of the 10 best femme fatales from film (and a few from TV) below in the video roundup below:
10. Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Cruel Intentions
9. Sil (Natasha Henstridge), Species
8. Suzanne Stone-Maretto (Nicole Kidman), To Die For
7. Hedy Carlson (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Single White Female
6. Alex Forrest (Glenn Close), Fatal Attraction
5. "The Bride" (Uma Thurman), Kill Bill
4. Claire Underwood (Robin Wright), House of Cards
3. Elvira Hancock (Michelle Pfeiffer), Scarface
2. Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike), Gone Girl
1. Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), Basic Instinct